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How to buy a second hand car in the land of the Kiwis


How to buy a second hand car in the land of the Kiwis

Auckland based premiere car grooming product manufacturer Auto Shine Car Care Products Ltd, along with sister concern Shyn4U are well known for the yeoman service provided by them for the motoring public in the land of the Kiwis. The nature of service offered by them include first hand information about the mechanical aspects of a car, its maintenance and upkeep, care and attention needed in regard to the upholstery, body paint, tires and electrical installations, etc. Sometimes they also offer specific advice about how to buy a car in New Zealand and the legal protection that the government provides in favor of the buyer.

However, this discourse deals in how the law in New Zealand may protect you when buying a second hand car in the country. Incidentally, there are two ways in which you can buy a second hand car in NZ – (a) Through a dealer and (b) privately. If you happen to buy the car from a dealer, you will be protected by the Consumer Guarantees Act as well as by the Fair Trading Act. The overall effect of the these two enactments is to help ensure you that you are not misled about the nature of the vehicle you are buying, and that it is of  acceptable quality, commensurate with the price paid by you.

Nevertheless, when you are buying a second hand car privately, none of the above two legal statutes will be of much help to you, although some sections of the Contractual Remedies Act may become accommodating in your case. Of course, you can take up the matter with the Motor Vehicles Disputes Tribunal if you feel that the private seller is misleading you or trying to deceive you about the condition of the vehicle.

Leaving aside the law, you can take some of the positive steps outlined below to protect yourself when buying a second hand car privately.

  • Check the car has a WOF less than 1 month old. (Legally, no car should be sold with a warrant issued more than a month before the sale unless the seller obtains from the buyer a written undertaking that (i) if the car is sold without a warrant, the vehicle will not be used until a warrant is obtained; or (ii) where the warrant is more than a month old, the buyer accepts this.)
  • Use a vehicle history checking service to see if there’s money owing on the car.
  • Arrange for a thorough mechanical check of the car. Use a mechanic or a specialist service - see the Yellow Pages under “Vehicle Inspection Services”.

 

Why it is prudent to buy a second hand car from a registered dealer?

A registered motor vehicle trader or dealer will guarantee a consumer “good title” to a car. This means they can legally sell the car and you will not be liable for any debts hanging over it, unless those debts were specifically pointed out to you in writing prior to the sale. This protection does not apply if you buy privately.

Every vehicle sold by a dealer/trader must have a warrant of fitness less than 1 month old. If it doesn’t, the seller must obtain from the buyer a written undertaking that (i) if the car is sold without a warrant, the vehicle will not be used until a warrant is obtained; or (ii) where the warrant is more than a month old, the buyer accepts this.

A dealer is required to attach to every motor vehicle displayed for sale a “Consumer Information Notice” (CIN). There must be a link to the CIN if a dealer/trader is selling used cars on the internet. A private seller at a car fair or using a display for sale operation must also display a CIN. In any case, the CIN is essential when a car is subjected to sale either online or under regular conditions.

The information that must be disclosed in the CIN includes:

  • The name and business address of the dealer.
  • Whether the dealer is a registered motor vehicle dealer/trader, and if so, the dealer’s registration number.
  • The cash price of the vehicle, including GST and any registration and licensing costs.
  • Whether any security interest is registered over the vehicle.
  • The year in which the vehicle was manufactured or the manufacturer’s designated “model year” or the year of first registration (for motor vehicles registered before 1 January 2007). For vehicles registered after 1 January 2007: the year of first registration anywhere in the world.
  • The make, model, engine capacity and fuel type of the vehicle.
  • The year in which the vehicle was first registered in New Zealand, or if the vehicle is a used import, the year it was first registered overseas.
  • The odometer (distance travelled) reading, or a statement that the odometer reading is or may be inaccurate.
  • Whether the vehicle is recorded on the motor vehicle register as having been imported as a damaged vehicle.
  • Whether the vehicle has a warrant or certificate of fitness and is registered, and the dates on which these expire.

 

Incidentally, when you buy the car, you must be given a copy of the CIN.

 

Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal – how to negotiate a claim?

The MVDT is run by the Ministry of Justice. There is a $50 fee for taking a claim to the MVDT. The hearings are in private and you can’t be represented by a lawyer - although you can consult a lawyer before the hearing.

There are time limits for going to the MVDT so make sure you take action as soon as possible.

The MVDT will ask the dealer to discuss the problem with you. If the problem isn’t resolved to your satisfaction, the Tribunal will set a date for a hearing.

The MVDT can hear claims up to $100,000 (or more if both the parties agree).

The MVDT can order remedies available under the Consumer Guarantees Act, Fair Trading Act, or the Sale of Goods Act.

 

The above information provided by Auto Shine Car Care Products Ltd/ Shyn4U is a helpful guideline for buyers ready to buy second hand cars in New Zealand. However, for specific information, the intending buyer may consult lawyers who specialize in buying and selling of motor vehicles.

Category: Auto Shine Blog

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